Tapas were invented for people – like me! – who like to casually graze over sample-sized dishes rather than sit down to a large main meal. Although there is a dispute about the origin of the mini meals, the Spanish have perfected the art of tapas. There are numerous tapas bars in Barcelona serving a variety of culinary treasures. During our visit, we were on a mission to feast on the best tapas in Barcelona – and we think we hit the mark!
Tapas Restaurants Barcelona
Tapas are one of the top things to eat in Barcelona – and there is no shortage of tapas for visitors to try. There are dedicated tapas bars, Basque-style tapas bars and nearly all bars and restaurants in Barcelona have tapas on their menus.
The term ‘tapas’ covers a broad range of appetizers; they usually accompany wine (or other alcoholic beverages) and are often combined into a leisurely meal. Tapas can be cold or hot, gourmet or simple, pre-made or made-to-order, served in a single portion or on a plate for sharing. Although certain regions of Spain are known for serving specific styles of tapas, all of the popular variations can be found in Barcelona.
Our first introduction to Spanish tapas was during our visit to the Basque region – first in Hondarribia, then in San Sebastian, where tapas are called Pintxos (pronounced PEEN-chos). We delighted in the experience of indulging in the creatively crafted, bite-sized tapas that were proudly presented atop every bar. We were eager to do the same on return trips to the country – and discovered some of the best pintxos in Barcelona.
Seville-Style Tapas in Barcelona
Another popular style of tapas in Spain are the small meals – which are similar to main entrees, but served in smaller two-bite portions. This style of tapas is more prevalent in Seville and the Andalusia region. We found many places to eat in Barcelona, Spain offering these kinds of tapas, too.
Cheap Eats Barcelona
In general, tapas tend to be less expensive than a sit-down dinner. Simple tapas often cost just a couple of euros – and some restaurants include free tapas (like peanuts or olives) with the purchase of a drink (always ask if there is a cost before consuming anything delivered to your table – it’s not always gratis!). However, hand-crafted tapas made from quality ingredients cost more – and making a dinner out of tapas can easily cost just as much as a main meal.
Fortunately, house wine is rarely expensive – so visitors can happily graze on Barcelona tapas during an evening out without breaking the budget.
More Barcelona Food
Barcelona, Spain food is not limited to tapas. The city offers an array of local cuisine, seafood restaurants and international fare. Although we were intent on seeking out the best tapas bars in Barcelona, visitors will find a variety of restaurants.
Michelin Star Restaurants Barcelona
The culinary scene in Barcelona is so highly regarded that more than 20 restaurants were awarded coveted Michelin stars in 2018. Although most Michelin restaurants offer a fine dining experience, Tapas 24 is a dedicated tapas bar owned by Michelin-star chef Carles Abellan (however, we have yet to try it!).
Where To Eat in Barcelona
Our list of the best places to eat in Barcelona are based on our own personal experiences. In addition to listing the top Barcelona places to eat, we offer our picks for recommended tapas. We include links to more reviews for each location and a map at the end of the end of the post.
Best Tapas in Barcelona
Without further ado, we list our choices for the top tapas in Barcelona!
#1 Quimet I Quimet
Regularly ranked as the best tapas restaurant in Barcelona, Quimet I Quimet is a must-try! The matchbox-sized, standing-room-only tapas bar is a family-run establishment that opened in 1914 as a wine bar (and wine bottles still line the shelves). The spot was recommended to us by both tourists and locals.
Even though Quimet I Quimet is slightly off the beaten path and tucked down a quiet lane, its popularity is evident. We arrived shortly after they opened to ensure we got a table, but found patrons already overflowing out the door and down the sidewalk.
We were able to squeeze in at the bar, which provided a front-row seat of the action. The bartenders and chefs were working non-stop – pouring wine and whipping up hand-made tapas. Known for serving montaditos (small sandwiches) and using preserves, the chefs create unique flavor combinations from a short list of ingredients.
Recommendation: The signature tapas – which I can wholeheartedly recommend as being incredibly delicious – is the smoked salmon on bread, topped with yogurt, honey and truffle. Read Reviews!
#2 La Tasqueta de Blai
Many visitors searching for the best tapas in Barcelona end up on the popular tapas street, Carrer de Blai. The street is lined with Basque-style pintxos bars, where an array of picturesque tapas are perched atop the bar. While the mouthwatering morsels at any of the restaurants can easily tempt patrons through the door, make the effort to find La Tasqueta de Blai.
The casual – and always packed – eatery offers dozens of perfectly-presented, classic tapas. Even better, each selection costs less than 2 euros, making them the best cheap tapas in Barcelona!
Drink orders are placed with waitstaff, but the food is self-serve. Simply grab a plate, peruse the bar-top offerings and take whatever looks appealing. Some pintxos are better heated (especially tapas with meat or egg), so ask the bartender to heat your selections if you would like. When you have had your fill, the waitstaff will count the number of toothpicks left on your plate and you will be charged accordingly.
Top Tip: We sat at the bar, which we enjoyed, however there will be a constant stream of glasses, plates and hands swirling around you at all times!
Recommendation: The assortment of tapas is constantly changing; each time a tray is emptied, a new tray of different tapas replaces it. Therefore, it is difficult to recommend a single dish. Instead, what we highly recommend is keeping an eye on the bar for any specialty items – which are usually hot out of the oven. These tapas rarely make it to the counter and instead are gobbled up before the bartender can finishing setting them out. Read Reviews!
#3 Abirradero Craft Beer and Tapas
One of the best bars in Barcelona for craft beer, Abirradero also has excellent tapas. In addition to their tapas menu – which features bar favorites, like potato wedges, falafel and calamari – they offer burgers, too.
To be completely honest, though, we went to Abirradero for the beer. The brewpub features an astounding 40 taps – 20 of which they use for their own craft beer that is brewed just around the corner. Beyond their own beers, they offer a selection of regional craft beers as well.
We originally had not planned on eating at Abirradero, but after seeing plate after plate of tempting tapas being taken to neighboring tables, we couldn’t resist ordering a few for ourselves.
Recommendation: Desiring something unique and fitting for a craft beer bar, we tried a heaping helping of the signature cheese, a Shropshire fermented in their own Encantada Gruit Beer. Full of flavor, the salty, creamy snack matched perfectly with our craft beers. Read Reviews!
We couldn’t resist the charm of this inviting, corner spot in L’Eixample with chalkboard signs and hanging legs of ham. The interior has low lighting and only a few wine barrel tables clustered together in the back. For us, it was one of those unexpectedly cool restaurants in Barcelona that we noticed was frequented by more locals than tourists. The menu features typical tapas and a nice selection of Spanish meats and cheeses – as well as sandwiches, salads and a few main dishes.
Sitting at an indoor table, we lingered over a meal of shared tapas and wine. Platters of delectable local cuisine – including meats, cheeses, roasted peppers, stuffed mushrooms and a tomato spread – were brought to our table in a steady flow.
Recommendation: Don’t miss the Iberico ham or the tomato marmalade…and maybe one glass of vermut! Read Reviews!
Top Tip: Vermouth is an incredibly popular drink in Barcelona. While Colmado is a fine place to try it, there are two other old school cocktail bars in L’Eixample where they make hand-crafted vermut drinks: Ideal and Tandem. The stylish, dimly lit bars evoke the era of Prohibition. At Tandem, tell the bartender what kind of drink you prefer and they will masterfully create a concoction just for you.
#5 Fabrica Moritz Barcelona Bar
The Moritz beer company was established in Barcelona in 1856 – and the local brew is still made fresh in the heart of Barcelona today. The original beer factory houses the brewery, as well as a restaurant, a bar, a museum, a gift shop and a wine room. More than just for drinking beer, Moritz has a massive menu, including top-rated tapas.
Although certainly commercialized, we couldn’t pass up the chance to try the local beer (we recommend the half dark-half light combination, which is surprisingly delicious!). And, since we were drinking the classic local beer, we tried some of the classic, local tapas, too.
Recommendation: Patatas Bravas is a quintessential Barcelona dish…and many people claim that Moritz makes the best in the city; they were certainly the best ones we tried on our trip! The piping hot potatoes are served two ways at Moritz: Our Way (Catalan style, which includes a spicy aioli sauce) or Their Way (Madrid style, with mayo and ketchup). Top Tip: When in Catalonia, get the Our Way. Read Reviews!
#6 La Boqueria Barcelona Tapas
La Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria – or just La Boqueria for short – is the city’s best market. The history of the market dates to the year 1217 and it still reigns as the top place to find the best food in Barcelona. Each stall has decorative displays of local sweets, produce, meat, cheese and seafood. And, several small tapas bars are mixed in with all the vendors.
The two most popular tapas bars at La Boqueria are Bar Pinotxo and El Quim, both of which rarely have open seats, as was the case on our visit. Being too hungry to wait for an available spot, we simply ordered quick tapas on the go (like jamon and queso croquettes) from vendors that didn’t have a wait.
Recommendation: In hindsight, we really wish we had waited to eat at either Bar Pinotxo or El Quim. The house specialty at Bar Pinotxo is blood sausage with garbanzo beans and the dish to order at El Quim is Eggs with squid – and we can’t wait to try them on our next trip to the city! Read Reviews!
#7 IRATI Taverna Basca
Located down an alley, just steps off Las Ramblas, IRATI is a Basque-style tapas bar in the heart of the city. The restaurant features two sections: The tapas bar in the front and full-service seating in the back, with a complete menu of entrees.
As usual, I only wanted a glass of wine and a snack, so we sat at the bar in the front. The selection of tapas was typical – and most included the standard fishy toppings. Rather than being put off by our pickiness, the helpful bar staff aided in identifying the tapas that were sans-fish.
Recommendation: Whatever catches your eye! Unlike many other restaurants in Barcelona, the bar staff is attentive, friendly and helpful – so, if you are a beginner at tapas, ask questions! Read Reviews!
Barcelona Tapas Map
Use this link to Google Maps for our Map of Barcelona Tapas online.
Barcelona Food Tours
Bar-hopping for Barcelona tapas can be an intimidating experience! Let a guide lead you to the best spots and help translate the menu. These Barcelona Food Tours come highly recommended:
Tapas Evening Walking Tour
Join a professional guide for an evening Barcelona tapas tour that features a fantastic introduction to the local cuisine and city. Stroll through the La Boqueria Market, then venture into iconic neighborhoods and learn how and what to order. (Then use our list of recommendations for the next night’s dinner!) Get the details!
Electric Bike Tour with Tapas and Drinks
See the city on two wheels! Let a local guide lead the way through the best neighborhoods and end the tour with local specialties – including Vermut, wine and tapas! Find out More!
Small-Group Tapas and Wine Experience
This gastronomy tour features tapas and wine from four restaurants – all while getting an introduction to the local culture and city! Book It Now!
Find the best, top-rated Barcelona Food Tours on Viator!
Going to Seville, too? Click here to read about our favorite Tapas Bars in Seville, Spain!
Top Tips for Your Trip to Barcelona
Now that you know where to eat, we have a few more tips for your trip! Read our Best Barcelona Itinerary!
Get acquainted with the city on a Self-Guided Barcelona Walking Tour! Use our detailed guide to the navigate your way to the city’s top sights.
Where To Stay in Barcelona
During our visit to Barcelona, we stayed in an awesome Airbnb Apartment. (Not already a member of Airbnb? Use this link to create an account and save money on your first stay!)
However, for those who prefer staying in traditional accommodations, there are many Barcelona hotels to choose from in – or close to – the city center.
Before You Go
- Don’t forget to pack a pair of lightweight and comfortable walking shoes. I (Sarah) have traveled with these shoes by Columbia and Reef. Kris prefers wearing these shoes by Merrell.
- We’re certain you’ll be snapping tons of photos during your trip. Rather than relying on your mobile phone to capture the sights, upgrade to an actual camera for higher quality photos. We travel with a Canon Rebel (which takes amazing photos, but can be a bit clunky) and a Canon PowerShot ELPH (which takes beautiful pictures, is slim and lightweight – and perfect for taking pictures in the city).
- It’s easy to get turned around or lost in any new city! Be sure to have a good city map and/or guidebook prior to arriving.
- We think travel insurance is essential! If you haven’t already obtained travel insurance for your trip, travel protected with World Nomads.
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